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Second home in Southern Oregon is a treasure

We call an Idaho town of 3,200 home, but with grandchildren in Central Point, Southern Oregon is now our second home. And so we are part-timers in one of the many 55-plus parks in Southern Oregon.

How many of you drive by these places vowing, "I'll never live in one of those?"

Ah, but you might. One never knows.

I hiked the Inca Trail at 63 and was stunned to face a hip replacement three years later.

"It's starting," my friends and I bemoaned. Meaning, of course, that like old cars our parts are showing wear, some beginning to fail. But worse, some of these friends have lost spouses, unexpectedly and always too soon.

I have met wonderful folks here in this little park. They are vibrant, embracing each day as the gift it is. They have lovely yards and happy gardens. They are all great cooks, and they share! Retired, free to travel, they do not miss the big house on the hill. We're all in this aging thing together, writing new chapters in our lives. With that bond comes compassion and help when you need it. Can you count on your neighbors for that? We can.

The next time you speed by, look for someone on a bike, or a couple walking with ski poles, or an RV being loaded for a road trip.

We are not here permanently yet, but we know that day will come, and when it does that transition will be a piece of cake. I may even find one in the hands of a neighbor, welcoming me into the fold.

These are special places, and Oregonians can be proud they accommodate their aging residents with so many choices, from retirement parks to rest homes. You have it all, and we thank you.

Allen and Kim Chenoweth split their time between Central Point and Grangeville, Idaho.